By Crystal Cranmore
NEW YORK, NY (WABC) — A community center in Brooklyn is providing a safe space for basketball players of all genders and sexual orientations to play without fear of being targeted by slurs or bigotry.
The high pace of the game and the teamwork are some of the reasons why Marion Lozano loves basketball.
But sometimes the biggest opposition isn’t always the player.
“It’s something that can be quite gendered,” Lozano said. “Usually if you’re going to an outdoor court or an indoor open gym, it’s labeled already — men’s open gym or women’s open gym. And if you’re nonbinary, there might be a little bit of confusion which way you want to go.”
That’s why Lozano helped start a weekly pickup basketball game at the Brooklyn Community Pride Center to provide a safe space for members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies to play – no matter their experience.
“It gives some people the opportunity to play, some people for the first time,” Lozano said.
Jenny heard about the event through friends
“Sometimes you can play basketball anywhere else and there’s a level of trash talk which involves bigoted slurs and you’re certainly not going to get that here,” Jenny said.
Brooklyn Community Pride Center is Brooklyn’s only LGBTQ community center. It ensures folks don’t have to go outside the borough for services.
“It’s so important for our community to have safe and inclusive spaces for physical health and exercise, including sports leagues,” said Omari Scott with the community center.
And for this group, that opportunity means more than just basketball.
“We cheer each other on, we give each other tips,” Lozano said. “It’s a family.”
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